For a long time now, Angela and I have wanted a way to acknowledge the people who have helped us develop into stronger writers and who add to the writing community as a whole. As a new feature here at The Bookshelf Muse, Angela and I will take turns giving well-deserved recognition to some of the people who really make an impact...people who truly are Writing Heroes.
Like Donna Gephart!
As one of the most humble, unassuming, shine-the-spotlight-on-others people I've met, you may not know Donna. But she's definitely a hero in my book.
Donna leads my face-to-face SCBWI group. She is a master critiquer with advice that's right on, and she can always (genuinely) find the good in everyone's writing. She knows how to keep a group on track with gentle guidance, but there's nothing gentle about her celebratory spirit. Just let anything good happen to you and she's encouraging you to share the good news so she can present you with balloons or snacks or bottles of bubbly that you may or may not be able to open due to the absence of bottle openers.
She's also an enviable writer. Her MG books have won awards and landed on state reading lists in Texas, New York, and Illinois. Her characters are funny and the plot lines are so crisp, they make you want to be a better writer yourself.
But most admirably, Donna is all about the kids. Besides the many school visits and Skype conferences she coordinates with students around the country, she also advocates literacy in a ton of other ways, like supporting World Read Aloud Day and Read It Forward. If there's a worthwhile charity within grabbing distance, she'll jump on board to pay it forward.
I admit that most of the writing heroes highlighted here are ones that the writing community might be a little more familiar with, but this time it's a little different. It's hard to believe that someone so talented can also be so generous and kind, but it's true. Donna is awesomeness personified but she's also my friend and I'm so incredibly excited for every success that comes her way.
So thank you Donna, for being one of my WRITING HEROES. You inspire me, woman!
To pay it forward, I will give a 1000-word critique to Donna. She can then choose to keep it for herself or offer it as a giveaway on her blog! As a resident writing hero, she will also have a permanent link in our header.
If you know Donna or she's helped you or your writing in some way, please tell us in the comments. If you don't know her yet, do drop by her blog or website to say hello and to help us celebrate this amazing WRITING HERO!